President heads to Florida Wednesday after devastation from Hurricane Ian
FEMA is leading the federal response; Floridians encouraged to apply for help
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Just about one week after Hurricane Ian decimated homes and businesses, President Joe Biden is set to head to Florida Wednesday .
Jeremy Greenberg, Chief of the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA, told Washington News Bureau reporter Jamie Bittner that the agency has 2,000 people on the ground and hundreds of more workers from other federal agencies are also assisting in the recovery.
“Some of the most challenging issues that the folks in Florida are facing right now still deal with immediate life saving search and rescue operations, as well as prolonged power and water outages to help address those issues,” said Greenberg. He said the agency is focused on making sure everyone has food, water, and shelter. They hope to move people from evacuation centers to more temporary housing.
Organizations such as the American Red Cross are also assisting in the state as FEMA crews focus to remove debris, restore power and fix roads.
Hear how the American Red Cross is assisting families here
Greenberg said Florida was well-prepared for the incident and that, “several days before landfall, we were working in collaboration with our state partners on plans to understand the hardest and potentially hardest impacted areas, and then moving lifesaving equipment such as search and rescue teams, temporary power and other communications equipment in close enough where they wouldn’t be impacted by the storm, but would be able to respond very, very quickly.”
Greenberg said FEMA crews will stay in the state for as long as they are needed.
“As far as how long this will take, it’s going to be a while. This was a catastrophic hurricane that made landfall with significant winds and storm surge that caused catastrophic damage in a variety of areas. So, the teams will be working in concert with state and the local jurisdictions to prioritize and then execute the plans. Obviously, this is going to take a lot of funding as well for this cleanup,” he said.
Greenberg is urging anyone who is impacted by the hurricane to file a claim with their insurance company and then register for FEMA assistance. FEMA has set up a toll free number at 1-800-621-3362 or people can also register on this website.
Greenberg said as FEMA provides relief on the ground, they are also preparing for the future as they said hurricane season is not over.
“We’re doing some future planning to see what might be needed if there happens to be a second or third storm into the already impacted area or somewhere else in Florida. And then simultaneously, the recovery teams on the ground are working with the state to identify those priority projects, to include restoring power lines, debris removal from the roadways and getting a sense of normalcy back to the folks who were impacted by the storm,” he said.
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